Updated: Nov 1, 2019
On Monday I head to the polls. It is time for Canadians to decide who they want for their leader. I am extremely fortunate to live in a democratic society where I can have an impact on the type of government who will be making decisions about education, healthcare, laws, and the other aspects that affect me and my family’s daily life.
However, statistics show that my generation—though one of the largest demographics—is one of the least likely to vote. Quite frankly, most young adults don’t feel like the government cares two bits about them or their well-being. They’ve come to believe the politicians simply want two things: power and money, and that they are willing to trample over the little guy making all kinds of false promises in their quest for both.
So rather than waste their time going to the polls to elect yet another politician who will not make any real changes, my generation will just stay home and watch Netflix. And who can blame them?
As a Christian, I know that my government can affect my day-to-day life for good or ill, but that that is not the end-all. As Christians, we have our own nationalities, and we proudly bear the flags of many different countries, but our true citizenship is not of this earth at all. (Philippians 3:30) It is, as Jesus put it, that our kingdom is not of this world. (John 18:36) We have, in a sense, cast a vote and declared our allegiance.
Of course, the kingdom of heaven is not a democracy. It has a king, Jesus Christ, who has been named Lord and Savior. And while history has shown us that humans generally make terrible kings when given complete power and authority, we know that with Jesus, it is different. He was willing to give up his very life for ours. He was the one human who got it all right. If he was running for King of the kingdom of heaven, his platform was based on this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39) He didn’t simply print that on a banner and wave it around as a peppy slogan to convince us to claim him as our king. No, he lived it in his own life and was a glowing example of a true leader who leads by example. A true leader is a servant, and Jesus came to serve. (Matthew 20:26-28)
Living in a democratic society, we are accustomed to having choices—even whether we choose to claim them or not! Living in a free country, we can easily slip into the mindset that we can decide whether or not Jesus is King, as if the popular vote will make it so. The fact is, Jesus is King whether we want him to be or not. Our only choice lies with whether or not we decide to become citizens of his kingdom and accept both the responsibility and the blessings that come with being a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.
There have been plenty who have not accepted Jesus as their King. They look around at the world and scoff. Does a loving God allow this?
As the story goes in the book of Isaiah, those who try to rise higher than God will fall. (Isaiah 14:12-15) Some have interpreted this prophetic language around Satan, who has made it his mission to deceive the whole world. (John 9:44) Satan was that unruly student who stood up in front of his peers and challenged the teacher's authority by saying, “I can do this better than you.” The rest of the class draws a collective breath as the teacher and the rebellious student lock eyes. What should God do as Satan waves the forbidden fruit in Eve's face? He had a full audience of angelic creatures that would be shaped by how He faced down this would-be-usurper to the throne.
Does the teacher smack down the defiant youth, afraid of a challenge? Is he afraid that the student is right? Should he hand over the chalk and let the student show the class who the true teacher is?
We, with the help of centuries of literature and popular media, tend to root for the underdog. We also have a pretty low opinion of those in power. We have been tricked before, after all. Those who promised prosperity brought ruin and death. We are preconditioned to see authority as oppressive. So it's not surprising that if you were watching a movie where the nobleman believes the king is flawed and tries to take the king's throne, we might very well root for the rebellious nobleman. In this case, though, the king was righteous, and the nobleman's short-sighted ideals were doomed to fail. Satan, thinking he knew what was best, set himself up to meddle in God's creation—to bring about the world as he believed it should be. The result is sin, suffering, and death as countless others have bought into the same lie and tried to create a world in their image.
Satan has been peddling the same lie since the beginning of time: we don't need God, we can do better ourselves. He has set up an opposing kingdom with himself as the ruler. His current platform is based on the claim that God is dead, and that if God is real, then He is a real jerk to let the world go on as it is, so do you really want a God like that anyway?
On the surface, Satan seems to be telling the truth. After all, you don't live very long in this world without experiencing suffering. In the face of suffering, it is more comforting for some to believe that evil is simply something that evolved, the same way that scary predators evolved to eat innocent prey. We might not like it, but so it is. Our best bet in this scenario is to just live in a way that brings comfort to us and those we care about, and hopefully, the world will be a better place.
I'm quite sure that I am doing a poor job of trying to explain what is on my heart, but it is this:
In each of our lives, we come down to a choice—a vote you might say. Who do we stand with? Satan isn't a red man with a forked tail and a pitchfork. Failing to believe in Christ doesn't mean you perform strange rituals or walk around cackling with evil. Morality isn't the shining emblem of faith (though it helps!), we all know that there are kind atheists and cruel so-called-Christians. (Those who claim the name of Christ but live adverse to his teachings are not, in fact, Christians.) The sun shines on the faithful and unfaithful alike.
We don’t get to choose who sits on the throne, that has already been decided. But will we bow our knee to the proclaimed ruler or join the rebellion?
In the powerful, opening sermon of the book of Acts, a miracle bursts upon a surprised crowd. Peter stands up and says that the miracle the people are witnessing by the thousands is happening because the “day of the Lord” has come! God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ, and it's time to believe and be saved! (Acts 2) In essence, Peter is crying out for the people to choose. Will they choose the world or the kingdom of heaven?
In my clumsy analogy, the ballot boxes are set. You're not choosing the leaders, those have already been selected. You are simply choosing which one you will follow. (Doing nothing is not safe either. Inaction still brings about a result.)
Like any good voter, you must carefully examine the candidates. Which one is truthful and keeps his word? Which one has a plan beyond slogans? Which one has your long-term future in mind? Which one is more concerned with his own good?
You can't just take the word of your spouse, your friend, your neighbor, your pastor, or me. You must search for yourself. Open that Bible. Study from wise teachers and weigh their words. Examine philosophy. I know you don't want to be lied to. You don't want to believe in myths or fairy tales. I don't want a band-aid faith either. I want life, real life!